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Toronto layover

Suburb of Houston
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Toronto layover

Hello, We are passing through Toronto on our way from Paris to Houston and have a 4 1/2 hour layover in Toronto on a Friday in July. United Airlines. We arrive in Toronto at 1:00 and fly out at 5:30. We really don't want to pass that much time in the airport but don't know anything about Toronto. Can we get to anything, even a decent restaurant or a park within an hour of the airport? Or would it be nice to get a cab and take a scenic drive for an hour or so? We did this on a long layover at LAX and went to Venice Beach for about 45 minutes which we thought was a good use of our time and money.

Toronto, Ontario
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1. Re: Toronto layover

Theres really nothing scenic around the airport area, but there are some decent restaurants around the area, most are attached to or beside hotels so possibly you can hop on a free airport shuttle bus or just grab a taxi so its quicker. You would have to get back to airport by 3:30pm.

Here are some nice restaurants close by:

CHOP Steakhouse

Canyon Creek

Moxies

The Keg

Ginko Japanese Restaurant

Or if you want to chance it, Sherway Garden Shopping Centre is about 10-15 minute cab ride away.

Edited: 9:19 pm, June 24, 2013
Toronto
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2. Re: Toronto layover

Even going to a restaurant close to the airport might be tight time wise (many of them are chains) as you would have to clear customs. You really don't have much time. Friday traffic is always bad. In addition I find it increasingly rare for flights to be on time.

SE Ontario
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3. Re: Toronto layover

Agree with travelfun ... you really do not have as much time as you may think. Like most major cities, the Toronto airport is a distance from the city itself. When you land in Toronto you will have to go through Canadian customs - even if you are just "passing through" so to speak. Your baggage will likely be checked through to Paris, so you won't be picking it up, however the Customs procedure can take up to 45 minutes. If you leave the secure area of the airport, you will then have to go back through security, which can be a long process on a Friday afternoon. You will also, as noted, need to be back at the airport by 3:30 for that security and boarding times. Friday afternoon traffic in summer can be brutal as people leave the city for weekend pursuits. You don't want to be stuck in that with a flight to catch. As airports go, Pearson is pretty good - some not bad dining areas, and free wifi - also check whether United has lounge access.

Edited: 6:51 am, June 25, 2013
Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Toronto layover

You said from Paris to Houston, which complicates things even further because you need to clear US customs in Toronto.

If you were to remain in the airport, you'd follow the signs for "Connections - 'F' Gates", which would bypass Canadian customs and immigration and take you directly to the US customs hall. There you'd wait for your baggage to be identified, then proceed through US customs (and immigration) and then security.

To leave the airport, you'll need to follow the crowds to the main Canadian customs and immigration area, and clear those formalities. Hopefully you'd be out by 1:30, but 2:00 would not be a huge surprise. When you returned to the airport, you'd still have to go through the process above (I believe you'd enter US customs by the side entrance at the back of aisle G of the check-in hall). That shouldn't take 2 hours -- connecting passengers essentially go to the front of the main US customs and immigration line -- but you don't really want to miss your flight.

northern Ontario
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for Toronto, Quebec City
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5. Re: Toronto layover

Hi Aujourdhui2,

I don't think I would chance it. To see something noteworthy in Toronto you would need more time than you have because the airport is not really close to anything. If it is any consolation this same advice has been given to travellers who have even longer layovers that you are going to have.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Toronto layover

It's not worth the hassle. As others have noted, you'll need to clear Canada Customs upon arrival from France, then if you go outside of the airport, you will need to clear both security and US customs upon your return (you clear US customs in Toronto and your flight to the States is then considered domestic). If you have Nexus/Global Entry, then it's doable. Without Nexus/GE, forget it. You'll be lucky to have an hour in some chain restaurant that's no different from what you can get at home. Really, there isn't much of interest up by the airport. It's not at all like LAX where the beach is right there.

The scenic cab ride is a good idea, but on a Friday afternoon it's going to take you an hour to get to anything worth seeing. Toronto traffic is brutal, and at it's worst on a Friday afternoon.

I'm not saying don't do it. But know what you're getting yourself into.

Personally ... I'd grab a drink in the lounge, then go find a bite to eat in the terminal (when you enter the Transborder concourse for your flight to the US, you'll find an Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge just as you enter the concourse. They have a decent selection of drinks and snack foods, usually soup too). With all the running around with security and going through customs twice, you won't have as much time as you think. And - that's assuming your flight from Paris arrives on time. United doesn't fly CDG-YYZ, so that leg of your journey will be on Air Canada, and their on-time performance is spotty at best. Don't be surprised to get in later than scheduled.

Sorry for the negativity .... but better you know now. Things might go off without a hitch, but that is not normal.

Louisiana
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7. Re: Toronto layover

So, I am flying from Quebec City to Louisiana, with a layover in Toronto. Will I go through US customs in Toronto instead of in Houston, which is my next connection before Lousiana?

SE Ontario
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8. Re: Toronto layover

Yes - you will go through US customs/security in Toronto.

Toronto
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9. Re: Toronto layover

Yes, Amy, you will have to clear US customs in Toronto.

Toronto
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10. Re: Toronto layover

You really don't have sufficient time to go to the city from the airport.